Before I get into my challenge experience, my older sister is now a DBer! Yaay!!!! This was her first challenge and you can check out her post on our blog: Sister/Sista. We've also signed up for Daring Cooks, and the reveal of the first challenge is just around the corner, it's really exciting you won't want to miss it ;) I'll continue to post about my Daring Baker challenges here and my Daring Cooks challenges will be posted on Sister/Sista as will Chrys' cooks and bakers challenges.
Now to daring in April....I have a confession:
I dislike cheesecake.
I can't eat more than a forkful of it and even that sometimes is a bit much. So when I saw this month's challenge, I knew I needed to find a cheesecake "outlet"; I suppose my younger brother would have sufficed since he loves all things cheesecake, but I was not going to condone him eating an entire 8-inch cheesecake by himself, mind you, he's done worst, but that doesn't make it right.
Every week I do a different dessert (sold on a Friday) based on the previous week's vote on my blog (Fridays with i-klek-tic) and most of my customers will die for cheesecake...light bulb! outlet found :)
Over the months I've done quite a number of cheesecake variations: Pina Colada, Passionfruit Swirl, Sorrel & Ginger, Tamarind Swirl, Cookies & Cream the list goes on. One could therefore say I took a mild approach by choosing to do: Brown Cow Cheesecake
Brown Cow for all you non drinkers out there is simply coffee liquor and cream, and these were the flavours I used in my cheesecake.
Jenny told us to stick with the basic recipe but to get crazy with decorating, "jazz it up!"
I will admit that I didn't do this as that would have drastically spiked the cost to the customer and with the prices of everything skyrocketing by the day, I still want a little slice of heaven to be accessible and not a burn a wicked hole through the pocket. So it was very simple but the flavours were mighty intense.
What I did like about this challenge was the crust. My experience with crusts made from biscuits is that they always come out on the hard side which I now surmise maybe a result of baking the crust first. The crust was not baked in this recipe, simply pressed into the pan filled then baked and voila! wonderful crust.
Here is the recipe and my notes:
Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(I stuck with this recipe, I used Digestive biscuits which are supposed to be the same thing as graham crackers, I upped the vanilla - added maybe another 1/2t)
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
(I: doubled the recipe so as to bake in a 10-inch round pan; replaced half of the cream with rum cream and added an additional 1/2C of rum cream; warmed some of the cream with 3T of instant coffee granules; omitted the lemon juice and added 3T of cornstarch with sugar to offset the additional liquid)
(After many a traumatising experiences with water seeping into cheesecakes despite proper sealing of springform pans, I now bake my cheesecakes in regular baking tins. I simply line them with baking paper and grease the bottoms and sides well, when it's time to remove them, I either turn them upside down and wipe a wet warm cloth over the pan until the cake slides out, or hold the pan over a low-medium flame to melt a bit of the butter in the crust and then flip it onto a plate then back over to decorate, serve etc.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
(I always add my eggs last when making cheesecake to avoid over mixing them, I did the same in this case)
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes (mine took an hour and a half, but I doubled the recipe so that was expected), until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.